In this article, Environmental Sustainability Program Director Michelle Garvey explains the significance of the program’s new name.
Today I share the exciting news that our program has been renamed to Environmental Justice: Place, Power, Regeneration.
A productive shift has been underway across the U.S., led by the environmental, food, climate, and water justice movements for at least the past four decades. “Environment” is being conceived not just as unpeopled and wild spaces, but also as home: where we live, work, and play.
This broader conception creates opportunities to appreciate that systems of power always affect both human and more-than-human communities simultaneously, and it recognizes that place is constructed as much by social as natural forces. In other words, the lengths to which our care can, and should, extend is infinite and all-encompassing. Our newly-named HECUA program reflects that expansiveness, incorporating the concept of sustainability that inspired the former program title, while fully embracing a renewed focus on justice.
Today’s climate-changed reality is marked by loss and turmoil. Our students work with community partners—often in place, in the lands that hold our stories—to confront the difficult suppressed histories that birthed this moment. We also work with change-makers to explore the ways each of us can leverage our unique gifts to regenerate damaged ecologies, relationships, and networks. As the environmental justice movement is itself marked by both resistance to oppression as well as bold visions of an eco-just future, so too does this HECUA program pivot upon the themes of resistance and revisioning.
Welcome all to the newly-titled Environmental Justice: Place, Power, Regeneration... same transformative approach to education; new deliberate alignment with perhaps the most urgent and inspiring movement of our time.